NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems
|This Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows varied springtime patterns formed in defrosting, seasonal carbon dioxide frost in the south polar region of Mars. The feature sporting an outline of dark spots and an interior of smaller, closely-spaced dark spots and dark-outlined polygons is a patch of windblown or wind-eroded sand that was covered by carbon dioxide frost during the previous autumn and winter. The fainter, larger polygon pattern on either side of the patch of defrosting sand is formed in the substrate upon which the sand patch is sitting. Polygonal forms such as these might indicate the presence of ice below the surface.|
|Location near: 79.6°S, 125.0°W|
|Image width: ~3 km (~1.9 mi)|
|Illumination from: upper left|
|Season: Southern Spring|
Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission. MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Mars Surveyor Operations Project operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities in Pasadena, California and Denver, Colorado.